Sunday, July 10, 2011

Samu still there

Samu avoided all the crashes and mishaps to stay in contention on today's awfully crash-marred ninth stage from Issoire to Saint-Flour. The team captain came in with the small bunch of favourites 3:59 down on popular winner Voeckler to rise to 20th overall, but will still feel downbeat after losing one of his key men for the upcoming days in the mountains, Amets Txurruka. The featherweight climber broke a collarbone in a crash early on and was immediately taken to hospital, leaving the always positive Samu despondent for once. "Losing Amets is a big, big blow", he admitted to the team's website post-stage. "Amets and Velasco were two very important riders for us and we'll greatly miss them." Amets, who crashed out of last year's Tour as well, was equally downbeat, saying "I just feel helpless. The truth is that I haven't come across much luck in the last three Tours. The whole first week I've been cautious, minding not to get too close to other riders, avoiding the danger. But Haimer (Zubeldia) fell in front of me and there was nothing I could do to avoid him. The goal was to shine in the Alps and the Pyrenees, but that won't happen now." There's no hiding Euskaltel have, like many teams, been very unlucky in this Tour. It's not for nothing Álvaro González de Galdeano dubbed this year's edition the "Tour de Collarbone" on Twitter earlier today. Tomorrow's rest-day will come in handy and give the team DSs a chance to regroup and come up with a plan to succeed in the Pyrenees without two of the team's best climbers. It's not the position they would have wanted to be in at the start of the race, but at least they can console themselves with the fact that the remaining riders all look strong. Verdugo, Martínez and Izagirre crossed the line just 40 seconds behind the group of favourites, whilst Pérez, Pérez and Urtasun ended up 13:17 down. More importantly thought they once again took excellent care of their team leader and kept him out of trouble. They'll need to keep that up as the Tour de France 2011 is quickly becoming a race of elimination.


arnout said...

Sad to see Amets go, again.

Just staying out of trouble for Samu will make him podium. Strange, strange Tour.

And I'm very happy Igor isn't here. He would've broken the majority of his bones by now.

Stephen said...

The team have done a great job for Samu so far, lets hope that the crashes stop and we can get to some propper racing, still have my fingers crossed that samu can get on the podium this year.


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